Aviation article(s)
March 9, 2023

Global air cargo tonnages show signs of rebounding slowly after several weeks of stabilization — still partly driven by the annual post-Lunar New Year holiday recovery outbound Asia, but against a backdrop of some more-positive recent global economic indicators.


However, the latest preliminary figures from WorldACD Market Data indicate that global average rates "seem to be continuing the gradual softening trend" observed in previous months, possibly affected by growing capacity."


The air cargo data provider noted that figures for week 9 (February 27 to March 5) show a small increase (+1%) in worldwide tonnages compared with the previous week, which had also seen a modest (+2%) tonnage rise.


On the pricing side, global average rates decreased (-2%) compared with the previous week.


"Comparing weeks 8 and 9 with the preceding two weeks (2Wo2W), tonnages are up by +2% above their combined total in weeks 6 and 7, accompanied by a +2% increase in capacity, whereas average worldwide rates slightly declined by -1%," WorldACD said, citing data from more than 400,000 weekly transactions that it covered.


At a regional level, on a 2Wo2W basis, the post-Lunar New Year recovery in air cargo tonnages was still notable on ex-Asia Pacific flows to North America (+18%), Middle East & South Asia (+14%), and Europe (+13%), respectively.


WorldACD said the most-notable decreases were recorded ex-Central & South America (-8%) and ex-Africa (-6%), linked to the annual spike in flower shipments ahead of Valentine's Day on February 14, with the flower exports from these two regions combined down by -8% (2Wo2W).


Volume rebound, rates continue to drop


"Despite volumes rebounding in recent weeks, on the pricing side, the average rates have continued to show a negative trend from all regions except the Middle East & South Asia, particularly ex-Europe (-3%) and ex-North America (-3%)," WorldACD added.


Meanwhile, comparing the overall global market with this time last year, the air cargo data provider noted that chargeable weight in weeks 8 and 9 was down -18% compared with the equivalent period last year.


Most notably, tonnages ex-Asia Pacific are down by -35%, although this comparison is skewed because Lunar New Year started ten days later last year, on February 1, compared with January 22 this year.


"There were also double-digit per cent year-on-year drops in tonnages outbound from North America (-18%) and Middle East & South Asia (-10%). But there are some exceptions, regionally, with tonnages outbound from Africa particularly on the rise compared with the previous year (+10%)," it added.


Overall capacity has jumped by +15% compared with the previous year, with significant positive developments from all regions.


Most-notable increases were ex-Africa (+23%), ex-Europe (+21%) and ex-Middle East & South Asia (+17%).


WorldACD said worldwide rates are currently -28% below their levels this time last year, at an average of US$2.73 per kilo in week 9, despite the effects of higher fuel surcharges, but they remain significantly above pre-Covid levels.

Verification Code: